First half bad, second half amazing
Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly chalked off while Karim Benzema his the post and Barca weren’t really offering much going forwards.
Whatever was said at half-time certainly did the trick, as Barcelona opened the scoring in superb style through Luis Suarez.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0 and Madrid were down to 10 men, before Aleix Vidal well and truly put the icing on the Christmas cake in stoppage time.
Barcelona feeling at home at the Bernabeu
If Barcelona’s victory at the Bernabeu in April was sweet, this one felt just as good and it was a landmark for the club as they made it three in a row at the Bernabeu.
3 - Barcelona have won three consecutive La Liga away games versus Real Madrid for the first time in their history. Triumph. pic.twitter.com/lTXNRhRtM7— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 23, 2017
There will also be huge ramifications from this game, not least for Real Madrid who look in serious need of a rethink after falling 14 points behind Barca.
For Barca, this was undoubtedly their best result of the season and confirmation that this team well and truly deserves to be top of the table heading into Christmas.
Valverde has improved Barcelona
Ernesto Valverde has had plenty of critics this season but this was another performance that proved the team has improved under his guidance this season.
Ahead of the game Valverde spoke about watching the Super Cup defeat and learning from it and how it was vital his team did not lose the match in the first half.
That may help explain Barca’s quiet start to the game and also perhaps why they looked so different after half-time.
This was also a game that showed once how difficult it has become to breach Barcelona’s defence under Valverde, even without Samuel Umtiti.
Once again Valverde got his team selection spot on, with Sergi Roberto providing another assist while Paulinho was one of Barca’s most effective attackers and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Could it have been even worse for Madrid?
It was a Clasico so of course there were some controversial incidents and there were a few decisions that went Madrid’s way.
Sergio Ramos’ clash with Luis Suarez was one of them. The centre-back was booked for an arm in the face of the striker, but only saw yellow.
After the game he said “he didn’t mean to get him” but it would not have been a huge shock if he had been given yet another red card.
Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal did see red, but might have also conceded a penalty after catching Gerard Pique in the area.
Pique certainly thought it was a penalty and the replays showed there was definitely contact between the pair.
It was denied by the referee. Clearly, Pique's ankle got hit because of Carvajal's aggression. pic.twitter.com/nxCPeT3SPr— Sjr. (@ASakkaaa) December 23, 2017
Was it enough for a penalty? Ultimately it didn’t matter, but if the game had gone the other way we would certainly be hearing more about it.
Ter Stegen might just be Europe’s best at the moment
Valverde also spoke about how vital goalkeepers would prove in this match and so it proved with Marc-Andre ter Stegen once again at his brilliant best.
Once again he saved everything that came his way as he picked up his 11th clean sheet out of 17 La Liga games this season.
Manchester United’s David De Gea has been in excellent form this season and called the world’s best by many, but on current form it’s a close thing between him and MATS.